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    Birth Control as an Idea {Appendix A}

    June 23, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    One of the things I learned about contraception during the time I spent studying it is that one cannot help but have one’s mind affected by it. The way one thinks about children and family is changed when one avoids children and family, regardless of the reason. If there is one thing that I can say about myself during the times that we used birth control {and, for the record, we have never used a hormonal form of contraception} is that my attitude was very controlling.

    We had plans. Lots of plans. But I became pregnant anyhow {three months into our marriage, to be exact}, and I spent a lot of time having a negative attitude about it. It was not long after E. was born that I remember my attitude of worrying and control was challenged for the first time. There was a local shoe store that gave out “first shoes” to every new baby. We went, and as we were the only folks in the shop at the time, we had a nice conversation with the young Hispanic man behind the counter. He seemed surprised that we were young {married} parents. We told him our sob story, how the pregnancy had come as quite a shock. And I remember him looking up. I know now he was trying to translate something into English. He said that in his culture there was a saying. In English, it is something like, “Babies come with a bag.” He said that his grandma told him that means that God doesn’t send a baby without also sending everything necessary to care for them.

    After E. was weaned, we began using birth control again. Then, we decided that we wanted E. to have a sibling. And we got pregnant right away. By then I considered myself the Real Thing. I was Fertile Myrtle.

    And then, on Christmas Eve, I lost that baby.

    A lot changed in me when that happened. I was angry again, this time because God wouldn’t let me keep a baby I wanted. My heart was very demanding, and for five long months, we grieved not only the child we had lost, but the baby that wouldn’t come instantly.

    This was control also. And I have seen it a lot in society, and I think this sort of control is directly tied to birth control as well. The use of contraception makes certain assumptions about one’s fertility. It assumes that one is fertile, that, if one does not use contraception {and use it properly}, one would become pregnant. It assumes that one is fertile not only now, but also in the future, and that delaying childbearing will have no consequences. And I assumed this about myself. After all, we had never had to “try” to become pregnant. And so I thought that birth control would allow me to control the spacing between my children.

    But my children are almost three years apart, which was not at all what I had planned. God graciously blessed us with the conception of A. around E.’s second birthday. As saddened as I was by losing a baby, I couldn’t have had both babies, and A. is a perfect fit for our family in every way. Through this, I learned that God, of course, knows exactly what He is doing.

    A. was about 11-months old when Si decided we would discontinue our family’s relationship with contraception unless there were specific medical reasons for using it. I was nervous. What if I got pregnant right away? Would I be able to handle having children so close together? And I had two very close friends who wanted babies so badly. What if I got pregnant and they were still childless? Would they hate me? Would I hate myself? Our business was doing poorly. What if we couldn’t afford another baby? {In answer to this one, Si and I quietly agreed that if we waited for our finances to work out, this wouldn’t really be a step of faith for us. It would be somewhat like casting myself on Jesus after making myself righteous on my own.} I silently prayed that God would work out all the details for us, since we knew this was the path He had for our family.

    And He did! I really am quite amazed. When one suspects one may be Fertile Myrtle, or at least a close relation, sometimes God shows His sovereignty not by opening the womb, but by closing it for a time. In my head, I had a “magic number” of 22 months apart. And God worked it out. If Number Three is born on the due date, A. will be exactly 22 months old. I am not saying that all our future children will be precisely spaced in just the manner I wish. I simply think God spaced our children in this instance in order to show me that I can rest in His will.

    Secondly, remember both of the close friends that I wanted so desperately to be pregnant before me? They were! In fact, one of them called to tell me she was

    The only thing I know is that I’m not comfortable shutting the door in God’s face and saying “Bless me Lord, with anything but babies.”
    BlestWithSons

    pregnant the day after I found out I was expecting. I rejoiced! Not only had God chosen to bless them both with children, but He taught me a lesson in trusting Him at the same time.

    Lastly, there were the financial issues. Si got a new job at a hospital just two weeks before we conceived. Not only does he have a job he loves with a steadier paycheck, but Baby’s delivery should be free to us.

    We have learned that walking in faith in this area (just like in any area, and hopefully, eventually in all areas as we become aware of the need for such faith) is an adventure. And seeing God’s hand smoothing the road ahead of us has been a source of amazement and delight.

    One of the passages that has been dear to us during this time is Psalm 127.

     

    Unless the LORD builds the house,
    They labor in vain who build it;
    Unless the LORD guards the city,
    The watchman keeps awake in vain.
    It is vain for you to rise up early,
    To retire late,
    To eat the bread of painful labors;
    For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

    Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
    The fruit of the womb is a reward.
    Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
    So are the children of one’s youth.
    How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
    They will not be ashamed
    When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

     

    We are in the midst of learning what it feels like to have the LORD build our house. And as we let go of control, we learn that all the striving was in vain, “for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”

    So what is next? Well, a bigger car, for one. The compact car I was given during my senior year of high school just isn’t going to cut it anymore, even if it is a tank. But for the first time, I have no fear of the future. I don’t sit around and worry that I won’t be able to take the kids anywhere because three carseats won’t fit in my car. God is taking care of us, He has shown us that already. So we simply pray and watch.

    We tried for a short time to build our own house, and we reaped much grief. Now, we are living an adventure as we anticipate the arrival of our third child on Christmas Day, the third blessing I will be privileged to give my husband.

     

    How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
    Who walks in His ways.
    When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
    You will be happy and it will be well with you.

    Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
    Within your house,
    Your children like olive plants
    Around your table.
    Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed
    Who fears the LORD.

    {Psalm 128:1-4}

     

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  • Reply Mystie March 8, 2009 at 12:03 am

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